Ivan Oransky: the 2004-2006 digital undertaker for Elsevier’s The Lancet
Dr. Ivan Oransky is a self-proclaimed science watchdog who, together with Adam Marcus, have taken on the world of science in a blaze of public shaming – disguised as science journalism – that has already caused irreparable damage to science, despite the informative nature of those reports. Their portal for launching attacks on the publishing establishment and on scientists is Retraction Watch, a blog that sees monthly traffic in the hundreds of thousands of hits. One of the loudly claimed key tenants of Retraction Watch is to hold science and scientists accountable, and to thus be open and transparent. What is not very known, because Oransky fails to provide a full listing of his own publications, i.e., he does not show equivalent transparency that he expects or demands from others, is that he held a very important role at Elsevier’s The Lancet, a premier medical journal that he now aggressively critiques, almost without impunity. That role at The Lancet was primarily to record the death of medical scientists. In the real world, taking care of the dead and the deceased lies in the hands of an undertaker. It is thus very apt that the role of digital undertaker for The Lancet established the necessary credentials that Oransky required to overlook the cadaver he and Marcus wish to create of science, and of scientists’ and publishers’ reputations.